Report 2006-116R Highlights - June 2007

Medical Board of California's Physician Diversion Program:

While Making Recent Improvements, Inconsistent Monitoring of Participants and Inadequate Oversight of Its Service Providers Continue to Hamper Its Ability to Protect the Public


Our review of the Medical Board of California's (medical board) Physician Diversion Program (diversion program) revealed the following:

  • Case managers are contacting participants on a regular basis and participants appear to be attending group meetings and completing drug tests, as required.
  • The diversion program does not adequately ensure that it receives required monitoring reports from its participants' treatment providers and work-site monitors.
  • The diversion program has reduced the amount of time it takes to bring new participants into the program and begin drug testing, but the timeliness of testing falls short of its goal.
  • The diversion program has not always required a physician to immediately stop practicing medicine after testing positive for alcohol or a nonprescribed or prohibited drug, thus putting the public's safety at risk.
  • Twenty-six percent of drug tests in June and October 2006 were not performed as randomly scheduled.
  • The diversion program's current process for reconciling its scheduled drug tests with the actual drug tests performed needs to be improved.
  • The diversion program has not been formally evaluating its collectors, group facilitators, and diversion evaluation committee members to determine how well they are meeting program standards.
  • The medical board has not provided consistently effective oversight of the diversion program.

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